Think Pink; a sign for hope

By Aruna Lolani ,

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It is their love and hopes for Manamea Apelu-Schwalger; former Miss Samoa and Miss South Pacific that have brought them together. 

 For the current Miss Samoa, Priscilla Olano and all the other former holders of the Miss Samoa crown, they finally had the opportunity to be with Mrs. Apelu Schwalger on Monday.

It was a very comforting and heartfelt moment which brought tears to their eyes as they were each telling of their own stories about Mrs. Schwalger and expressing their thoughts about the Think Pink initiative. 

In an inclusive interview of Samoa Observer with former Miss Samoa and Miss South Pacific 1996 – 1997; Verona Parker, said the nature of Samoan people is all about helping each other.

“I as a Samoan woman, I think you grow up in a community where we’re always helping each other out,” she said.

“It’s a pretty nature and whatever circumstance, whether it’s your own home, church or village.” 

“So when this initiative was brought up by Life Con, it was a natural response from me to go onboard and support our sister who is in need; who is going through major challenges so as surviving and fighting the negative impacts of such an illness.”

“Nobody can ever be in her shoes and go through the experience she has had to bear all this time but the only thing we can do is be there.” 

“So it is my way of supporting her and be there for this Think Pink initiative, hopefully she can take courage that she’s not alone; she will always have people behind her.”

Another former Miss Samoa and Miss South Pacific titleholder, Cheri Robinson (1998 – 1999) came because she knew her answer straight away when Director of Events, Marketing and Distribution; Kevin Schuster contacted her on Facebook. 

“The biggest reason for me wanting to be part of it was Manamea,” she said.

“During my reign I actually gotten to know her personally and on social media, I sort of tracked her journey with what she’s going through.” 

SUPPORTING THE INITIATIVE: Mary Jane Schwenke, Manamea Apelu Schwalger and her two daughters; Tuimoana and Manamea,  Priscilla Olano, Janine Tuivati and Cheri Robinson. Photo / Misiona Simo
SUPPORTING THE INITIATIVE: Mary Jane Schwenke, Manamea Apelu Schwalger and her two daughters; Tuimoana and Manamea, Priscilla Olano, Janine Tuivati and Cheri Robinson. Photo / Misiona Simo

“So when Kevin asked if I was willing to be part of this project, this initiative with Manamea, I was first and foremost, I wanted to be part of it to support Manamea.” 

“She’s a simple of hope and she just inspires a lot of people with what she’s going through and I think with this Think Pink initiative, she’s taken her challenge and her journey and she’s transforming it into something that can help others.” 

“I think the Think Pink initiative is about raising awareness about the challenges that people are facing with cancer.” 

“Everyone has someone in their family who’s gone through cancer. My father experienced cancer as well.” 

“The fact that she’s taking her journey and she’s transforming it into something that brings people hope, that has a direct impact on their lives, it would be crazy to not want to be a part of that.”

Reigning Miss Samoa, Priscilla Olano was one of the happiest souls yesterday because not only she had the opportunity to meet and support Mrs. Apelu Schwalger, but she was also given an opportunity to meet most of the women that have inspired her. 

“It’s such an amazing opportunity for me, it’s once in a lifetime thing because I’ve only seen these women in photos and just over the years; watching different patterns and to see them all coming together, it’s such an amazing feeling and seeing all of them supporting each other; you see that fellowship because they all know what they’ve been through so we have that support.”

“Manamea, you have been such an inspiration. You are my favorite Miss Samoa and just know that we’re here for you, the whole country is here for you and praying for you.”

“Think Pink is such an awesome initiative because cancer claims a lot of people’s lives today and with families who have been affected; like my grandmother had cancer and she died from ovarian cancer.”

“The fact that it’s very hard to find a cure but they need a lot of support especially in terms of funding for research because every belief there’s a cure out there for it.

“The Think Pink initiative for me is like a starting point, one of many initiatives to come.”

© Samoa Observer 2016

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